This ranks among the very best restaurants in England. Classically faultless cooking
with a constant ability to surprise and excite.
Not far from Cheltenham College, the surroundings in a slightly seedy part of town
belie the interior charms and intimacy of a dining-room in which the cornflower blues
and yellows recall Provence; the elegant furnishings a bijou, very English townhouse.
As a hostess Helen Everitt-Matthias gets it absolutely right, treating you as an
honoured guest with her perfect blend of informal conversation and professional discretion.
From the base of a proper apprenticeship in the best London kitchens, her husband
David, here now since 1987, has blossomed into one of Britain's finest chefs.
Whether you choose from the exceptional value prixe-fixe lunch or the more elaborate
carte at night, David's cooking shows superb clarity of flavours drawing on the finest
ingredients and enhanced by very subtle saucing; his particular gift is for accompaniments
that are highly original but always successful because he has thought deeply about
His remarkable culinary imagination inspired a recent brilliant lunch, proceeding
from a subtly spiced vichyssoise with lovage and salt cod mousse to tortelloni of
roedeer, the richness of the veal stock sauce made richer still by adding a little
fig and caramelised beetroot, then all was reined back by savoury, homemade sauerkraut.
Main courses like assiette of pink roast lamb and a mini shepherd's pie showed the
same blissful balance, and a sense of humour!
A particular speciality is the roasted foie gras with walnuts. On no account should
you miss the pannier of thirty cheeses in prime condition spanning a particularly
fine choice of cows', goats' and sheep's cheeses, mainly from France. Or there's
a lovely roasted peach with a light, lactically-flavoured fromage blanc sorbet enlivened
with black pepper. First-rate espresso and excellent petits fours are a fitting finale.
Quality and gentle mark-ups are the virtues of the intelligently selective yet wide-ranging
wine list, which includes a first-rate '96 Bourgogne Rouge (Champy), a £15 bottle
that tastes like a £25 one.